The Golden State Warriors emerged Wednesday night with the largest season-opener victory margin in franchise history, and they did it the Hollywood way, as the Los Angeles Lakers have traditionally done unto them.
Warriors co-owner Peter Guber brought “Rush Hour” actor Chris Tucker as his guest, while part-owner Craig Johnson used Halloween as an excuse to dress up as Jack Nicholson, the Lakers’ No. 1 celebrity fan. Johnson sat courtside along with a friend disguised as Lou Adler, another big player in the entertainment business.
The centerpiece of the Warriors’ extravagant introductory ceremony was a graphic-lit curtain wrapped around the Jumbotron — something their in-state opponent kicks games off with regularly — and the players loved it, break-dancing underneath.
After Golden State’s 125-94 blowout, Coach Mark Jackson said: “First of all, I want to give credit to the people who organized the introduction, from the big screen to the curtains. I thought it was first-class. That’s how big-time organizations do it.
“I thought it was a thing of beauty from beginning to end.”
The Warriors led the game by as many as 35 points, and scored the first victory in their seven season openers against the Lakers in franchise history.
For seemingly endless years, except last season and 2006-07, the Warriors have failed to make the playoffs. But with Warriors expectations high this season and the marquee Lakers in rebuilding mode, a real rivalry could finally materialize between the California teams.
“It’s cool, to start a little rivalry. We’ve already seen each other three times,” said Warriors guard Klay Thompson, referring to the preseason games between the two teams in China. “And we’ll play them three more times this year.”
Golden State season ticket-holders are known to sell their tickets to Lakers fans when the Southern California team has come into town. But this year, the Warriors sold a record 14,500 season tickets, said spokesman Raymond Ridder, and the crowd wore a lot more gold and blue than purple and gold Wednesday.
“This is my 16th year here and that was the smallest amount of Laker fans that have been in our building,” said Ridder, who previously worked for the Lakers. “We’ve always had really good fans but I attribute that to the fact that we’re a better team now.”
Knowing Lakers star Kobe Bryant would sit out the game while still recovering from his Achilles injury made a big difference for San Jose resident Jackie Magtibay, who wore a Lakers T-shirt and attended with a fan of the home team.
“I’m mostly a Kobe fan and right now I don’t really care who wins because he’s not playing,” she said. “If Kobe was playing I would care more but I figured [the Lakers] would lose anyway.”
Warriors star Stephen Curry said it was “big for us to play well” and “make the show worth it.”
With a more-than-30-point lead in the fourth quarter, many fans were their loud, “Beat L.A.”-chanting selves, but others acted like some fans from the rival team, leaving their seats to beat the crowd since the win was in the box.Golden State WarriorsMark JacksonPeter Guber